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Jacob's Pillow — Summer 2009
By Elyse Sommer
Besides the indoor performances by world class dance companies in the Ted Shawn Theater and the Doris Duke Studio Theater, there are the extensive historic archives and exhibits in Blake's Barn to explore, enlightening lectures and for anyone lucky enough to live nearby, inexpensive dance and pilates classes. can themselves be part of the Jacob's Pillow scene by taking part in some of the community pilates and ballet classes. Everything about the "Pillow Experience " is a feast — naturally, a feast for the eyes, but also for foodies who have a choice of dining in the Pillow tent, snacking in the Pillow Pub or bringing their own picnics.
Even though my summer "White House" in Lee is a short ride from the Pillow, being a theater critic keeps me too busy to enjoy the Pillow as often as I'd like. This year I've been able to schedule just one main stage performance but, at the risk of patting myself on the back, I couldn't have chosen a more enjoyable and truly original group than Doug Varone and Dancers. Varone, the company's prolific and multifaceted Choreographer and Artistic director has distinguished himself in dance, theater, opera, film, television, and even fashion. In creating works for his company and as commissioned by world class organizations, he has developed a unique emotionally rich, adventurous movement vocabulary. The opening piece for the August 12th to 16th program at Jacob's Pillow, "Castles" (2004) was set to Sergei Prokofiev's "Waltz Suite, Opus 110" and stunningly demonstrated Varone's versatility and ability to marry modern dance with more conventional classical dances like the waltz. The six movements saw the entire company in a breathtaking mix of solos, duets and ensemble. It was the longest of the three pieces on offer but it flew by.
The post-intermission "Short Story" (2001) was a curtain raiser inspired by some short stories the choreographer read during a vacation and which impressed him because they packed so much into so few words. The duet beautifully danced by Daniel Charon and Nataloie Desch, was accompanied by Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Prelude in C." The way Charon and Desch captured the essence of a couple who loved each other and yet unable to connect, Having just seen a performance of playwright John Patrick Shanley's early play The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, about a young couple in love but unable to connect without hurting each other, I was struck by how Charon and Desch captured the same conflict with the language of motion.
The evening ended with the entire company dancing up a storm in Lux (2006). The pulsating energy was mathed by Philip Glass's "The Light."
For details about the entire season , check out the Jacob's Pillow web site.
©Copyright 2009, Elyse Sommer.
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